…that church no longer exists. The building is there, occupied by a different church under new leadership. Los Gatos Christian Church slowly died and was buried…
…maybe churches are not meant to live forever. Maybe some die and new life emerges from the fertile soil of a once great church. —Diane Comer
Should a church last forever?
There has been much adieu about the receding and dying of the Christian church in recent years. Many are lamenting the dwindling numbers and rising age of church attenders. One of the selling points of church outreach is growth despite the dying church phenomenon. This growth then becomes a measure of truth or value.
“Well, here at Big Rapidly Growing Church we must be getting something right because we have tripled our numbers this week. We cater to your age group. We target your demographic. This is what we do.”
Then in ten years when you fall into a different demographic, is that still what they do? Or, do they switch it up and serve those who are left after Mega Rapidly Growing Church made a plant down the street?
Would church planting and operation be different if we went into it with a life expectancy for a particular work? Would the church’s struggle for relevance be made easier by the addition of an expiration date?
For example: We are planting this church to serve this group for ten years, at which time we will have developed other ministry works to pass this group on to.
What does it look like for “new life” to emerge from these fertile grounds? Are the grounds fertile? Or, have all of the resources of that ground been used up—hence the death of the church.
The more traditional church model is where a lot of these questions and subsequent deaths occur. The more flexible simple or organic church form seems to be able to cope a little better. I’m not making a case for either school of thought. I’m just observing.
Would intentional, healthy division into smaller groups help inoculate the church against this syndrome? Instead of growing a huge organization with enormous budget needs, we would grow numerous and varied works each with its own focus and a much lighter financial burden. Diversification as it were. The church already makes frequent use of many business techniques. Why not use this one as well? The church could make a much wider footprint with less resources and hedge their needs for a longer future.
I don’t know the answer I’m just interested in what you have to say. Should a church last forever? Does a church have a life expectancy?